By N. Balani
BRAMPTON: The Rose Theatre in Brampton has been bringing some really great music artistes to perform here in our city.
The latest in the line-up this past weekend was world renowned Jesse Cook. For those of you not familiar with his music, do go out there and listen to any one of his albums and I assure you, you will be hooked.
Jesse Cook was born in France and then lived in Spain and Canada. The great Spanish influence in his music is evident in all his work and runs through his veins.
His music is often classified as new age fusion sounds with Spanish flamenco and tablero flavours added with different types of guitars. But to me, you cannot box Jesse Cook as new age. It would be more world music – his sounds have a universal appeal as they evoke different moods and stir emotions in your heart and soul.
The magical evening began with his very popular piece called Mario takes a Walk from his album ‘Gravity’ which brought a loud round of applause as fans were more than familiar with this lively opener.
Jesse Cook said “I am happy to be back here at the Rose, where I recorded the PBS session about a year ago.”
He told the audience about a song that he had written 15 years ago, and when he went through his music recently he had wondered where it had gone. So when he heard it again, he decided to bring it back from the dead and he played Parasol, from his album Tempest.
The band which consists of Jesse, Dennis Mohammed on bass, Chris Church on violin, Chendy Leon percussionist and Nicholas Hernandez, then sat down and played the next instrumental piece. But it was so lively that it brought the audience alive with everyone clapping and tapping their feet in rhythm
The violin and percussion duet by Chendy Leon and violionist Chris Church was well received by the audience. It consisted of special notes of communication through music between the two of them and it was as if the violin was speaking to the percussionist and he was responding cleverly through his sounds.
The beautifully rendered Incantation, one of Cook’s personal favorites, really hit that emotional spot in your heart. The evocative sounds of his Spanish guitar together with the percussion pulled at your heartstrings and conjured up moods of Spain.
As he talked about his latest album The Blue Guitar Sessions, Jesse explained “It is a unique album which I did to please myself. I wanted to try something different in terms of mood and when I say Blue I do not been like the jazz blues; I really mean blue as in the mood blue – that which you feel sometime past midnight. It is unapologetically an album that reflects melancholy.”
As he stated himself “A Jesse Cook piece is always happy in sound. But this one is different.” As he introduced the next song Fields of Blue, he said that “this is one of the happiest songs from the album as I do not want to burn you out in a concert.”
Jesse wanted to liven up the mood so he asked the audience if they were ready to party and not being happy with the lukewarm response he got he said he was willing to wait until they were ready and to this he got loud shouts of encouragements from the enrapt audience. He encouraged everyone to stand up and dance and clap and sing to his next number which was just like a dance party!
He came back on stage to do his very own flamenco version of Cecilia (Simon and Garfunkel) as an encore much to the delight of the crowds. They then finished off with an unplugged version of the Beatles’ “On our way home”. Hail to the acoustics of the Rose Theatre, as even without artificial electronic support, Chris’s voice and Jesse’s guitar could be heard all throughout the theatre, as the crowd sang along.
The haunting Jesse Cook melodies transport and take you on a magical musical mystery tour to a land of Spanish and gypsy beats which beg your feet to tap to the rhythm. You can well imagine yourself at a genuine tablero (a place where live flamenco dance and guitars are performed) bar. The evening ended far too quickly as time flew through the music and we took home some lovely musical memories.
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